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Animals Are Outside Today
Towards the Sky Again
How the Sky and Water Attach
at the End of the Sea
Thirty Times a Minute
Surveilling Snow Lily
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Installation at the Riverside Art Center
January 10 - February 22, 2021
Invisible Visible explores relationships between systems rendered invisible that exist all around us. It is an installation project created as an act of acknowledgement for the many lives involved in factory farming: the chickens and the workers, together subjected to the suffering created by our industrial food system.
2-channel projection, 175 plaster-cast bird wings, 175 plaster-cast wing bones, plywood.
Across the back wall of the space sweeps a black and white video projection: a gentle handling of wing sculptures, wings being passed in endless succession. A second video is projected atop rows of plaster-cast sculptures. The images of red, raw bird wing bones—bones from a chicken—slowly breathe, appearing and disappearing. The projected image moves our eyes beneath the surface of the wings, into the interior. Flanking the wings are an assembly of chalk white bones cast from a wing bone. This delicate line of bones mirrors the physical experience of workers in a slaughterhouse, standing in compact rows. The fragile plaster-casts were created as a gesture of honor and acknowledgement of fellow living beings. In the ritual of making, each one became a prayer. Plywood, a material ubiquitous in labor-intensive industry, subverts the common use as barrier and instead becomes a canvas of unity. The plywood platform and the walls encase—nest—the rows of wings that become markers for 175 chickens. 175 is the rate of birds killed every 60 seconds in factory slaughter in the US.
On the gallery door hangs a newsprint poster, bound into a pad, with writings attending to the question of what makes the invisible visible. The writer describes a practice of attention, witness, and vision for relating with, and welcoming into view, the invisible. The reader traverses through stories that lead to the interior, beyond the visible and back through imagining. Posters of the writing are to be torn from the door or listened to via an online recording, and all experiencing this work are invited to absorb the writings—to take the stories with them—and carry the question out into the world.
> Listen to: INVISIBLE VISIBLE written and read by Katherine Kassouf Cummings
Project partially sponsored by Phoenix Zones Initiative, a nonprofit organization on a mission to advance rights, health, and wellbeing. Led by physicians and a diverse cross-sectoral team, Phoenix Zones Initiative recognizes the inextricable links between the welfare of people, animals, and our life-sustaining planet in the struggle for social and environmental justice. We focus on robust structural change by advancing ethical norms, values, legal and economic frameworks, and public policy to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalized people and animals. Our programs center on critical needs and acute intersections between human, animal, and planetary wellbeing.